Caribou’s ‘hometown heroes’ celebrated for their community contributions

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CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou Community School inducted its second class into the Hall of Hometown Heroes Thursday.

The school launched its Hall of Hometown Heroes in 2021 as a way to honor Caribou natives who have made valuable contributions and served as role models for area youth. The Hall’s first class of nine heroes was inducted in late 2022.

RSU 39 leaders and Maine Sen. Troy Jackson celebrated the latest honorees Thursday with a dinner and induction ceremony at Caribou Community School. Jackson presented all inductees with a framed sentiment of congratulations from the Maine Legislature.

Cindy Bouchard, owner of Family Chiropractic in Caribou, has been a local chiropractor for more than 25 years. She graduated from Caribou High School in 1989 and earned degrees from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Palmer College of Chiropractic. She also has a doctoral degree in chiropractic and a certificate in chiropractic pediatrics.

Matt Bouchard, recreation director at Caribou Parks & Recreation, graduated from Caribou High School in 1998 and earned a non-teaching degree in physical education from UMPI. He briefly worked in UMPI admissions before becoming a full-time employee at Caribou Parks & Recreation, where he coaches youth sports.

Bouchard credited his years as a middle and high school athlete with inspiring him to make a difference in children’s lives through sports and recreation.

“I had great coaches who taught me not only about sports but also life lessons,” Bouchard said.

The 11 inductees into Caribou Community School’s Hall of Hometown Heroes included (left to right): Kyle Corrigan, Matt Bouchard, Bethany Zell, Scott Jackson and Andrea Flannery. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Kyle Corrigan, an MMG Insurance accountant, graduated from Caribou High School as a scholar-athlete in 2008. Corrigan earned his accounting degree from UMPI. He owns the Aroostook Soccer Academy and coaches Caribou High’s boys basketball team, whom he helped lead through back-to-back state championships in 2019 and 2020.

Albert Farley, an RSU 39 bus driver and custodian, began his career 32 years ago as a bus driver and custodian for Limestone schools. He is a 1991 Caribou High graduate and now works at Caribou Technology Center. He is pursuing his instructional license to teach commercial driving to local students.

Farley thanked mentors at Caribou High’s trades programs for giving him a chance to shine when he was not doing well academically. He also credits former Limestone custodian and bus driver Fred Michaud for hiring him as a 21-year-old.

“Remember, everybody deserves a chance in life, so give the next generation that chance,” Farlely said.

Andrea Flannery, a social worker for Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Adult Protection Services and co-owner of Dodo’s Market in Caribou, graduated from Caribou High in 2002. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Southern Maine and worked for Maine DHHS in Child Protection Services until returning to Caribou with her family in 2016.

The 11 inductees into Caribou Community School’s Hall of Hometown Heroes included (left to right): Neal Sleeper, Andrew Michaud, Lance Longley, Albert Farley, Karen St. Peter and Cindy Bouchard. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Scott Jackson, a firefighter and paramedic for Caribou Fire & Ambulance, graduated from Caribou High in 1991 and earned his degree in paramedicine from Northern Maine Community College and a fire science education degree from Southern Maine Community College. A 30-year firefighter, Jackson is well known for teaching fire safety to local elementary school students.

“I’ve had a good career in Caribou. It was a good place to raise my kids,” Jackson said. 

Lance Longley, a 30-year Pepsi Bottling Company employee and Caribou volunteer firefighter, is a 1993 graduate of Caribou High. He attended NMCC and holds certifications in firefighting and as an ambulance driver. 

Andrew Michaud, owner of A.M. Construction & Roofing in Caribou, started his business at 22 years old with “a truck, a small enclosed trailer, a few tools and a lot of ambition.” He said that his time in Caribou schools’ residential construction programs and working alongside his father influenced his career path.

Neal Sleeper, recreation program director at Caribou Parks & Recreation, is a 1992 alum of Caribou High. He studied outdoor recreation at AABA New Hampshire College and Unity College. He has worked at Caribou Parks & Recreation for two decades and coaches Caribou High’s varsity alpine ski team, whom he led to a state championship in 2023.

Karen St. Peter, a U.S. Army veteran and former accountant at Defense Financing and Accounting Service, graduated Caribou High in 1984. She spent seven years in the Army before attending UMPI, where she earned a degree in business management. She worked at DFAS from 1997 until her retirement in 2014.

Caribou Community School’s Hall of Hometown Heroes features photos of 2022 and 2024 honorees, including (left to right) Bethany Zell, Scott Jackson and Karen St. Peter. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

“Give back to your community and don’t forget your roots,” St. Peter said, on her advice to students.

Bethany Zell, owner of Zell Creative Communications, graduated high school in 1991, and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Plymouth State College in New Hampshire in 1996. She worked in customer service and marketing in New York and New Jersey and in property management in Tennessee before returning to Caribou in 2010, where she worked in marketing and public relations at Cary Medical Center. She started her own marketing consulting business in 2021.

To qualify for the Hall, individuals must have attended Caribou’s former elementary and middle schools, which include Sincock School, Hilltop Elementary, Teague Park Elementary, Caribou Intermediate School and Caribou Middle School, and graduated from Caribou High School. Caribou’s newest school, the pre-K to grade eight Caribou Community School, opened in 2020.

When walking down the Hall, folks can view photos of each inductee and scan a QR code with their phones to watch short videos of the inductees telling their stories.